Industry defends role in Govt ads

The Advertising Association has launched a robust defence of the marketing and advertising industry’s contribution to Government communications, in response to a Cabinet Office review which could potentially see the COI scrapped.
The response draws together views across the entire industry and highlights the clear need for continued, high quality communications in support of Government policy aims.
It cites recent consumer research conducted by industry think tank Credos which it claims demonstrates that the public appreciates the value of Government communications, as the social issues they aim to tackle remain very real.
Some 67 per cent of the 2,053 individuals surveyed agreed that advertising is vital to the success of Government campaigns on issues of public concern. The majority agreed that money should be spent on communicating on issues including drink-driving (77 per cent), benefit fraud (60 per cent) and healthy eating (55 per cent).
Recognising there is less money available for large-scale Government-funded communications, the emphasis in the Advertising Association’s submission is on finding new ways of communicating social policy.
However, the industry has expressed concern about the idea of replacing the COI with a US-style Ad Council model, which could limit real collaboration between Government and industry on the development of compelling and effective two-way communication with the public.
Tim Lefroy, chief executive of the Advertising Association, said: “The UK is world class in using communications to support policy implementation. Communicate less and you collect less tax; spend more money; recruit the wrong teachers, nurses and soldiers. This industry is a massive donor to good causes and adds further value through partnerships such as Change4Life. It shouldn’t risk those commitments to plug gaps where taxpayer investment is justified.”
IPA director general Hamish Pringle said: “The IPA has been closely involved in this AA submission and we support it whole-heartedly. In particular we’ve included the over-whelming evidence of the cost-efficiency of Government advertising and marketing communications. This is testimony to the focus on accountability by the COI, their clients in Government and their agencies.”
The IPA points out that a high proportion of the COI/Government campaigns have been winners of the IPA Effectiveness Awards, including a Grand Prix. Government campaigns have also picked up a number of other industry awards, including DMA golds.

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